For anyone who has undergone the ritual of playing a vinyl record, there is a moment before the needle finds the groove, a sound somewhere between a whisper and a squeak, that pulsates with every rotation. It is this sound, not voice or instruments, that begins Americana singer-songwriter John Murry’s new single, “Ones + Zeros.” Yet this moment is not merely a technical oddity, it is an overture that introduces the sense of circularity dominating a stunningly meditative and introspective song.
Whether from the insistence of the opening piano motif, John Murry’s simple yet elegant vocal melodies, or the guitar and fiddle that begin to saturate the background, each melodic rise is followed by a subsequent fall. Murry muses on pain and joy, hope and despair, and numerous intermingling contradictions that lend the tune a distinct bittersweet quality. It is a rich mosaic of every feeling all at once, heartfelt but not dripping with sentimentality, tinged with deep sadness but by no means morose. Murry’s enigmatic voice draws you into his vast musical imagination, and it is hard not to feel each up and down, victory and defeat, every one and every zero.
The video accompanying “Ones + Zeros” conveys a stark beauty worthy of its potent expressivity, further inviting you into his universe. The muted colors and depictions of Murry’s deeply communicative face sensitively depicts his musical self-portrait. As the song fades out and silence sets in, you might imagine the record spinning endlessly without a needle. You might now sympathize with it. You might even want to play the song again.
“Ones + Zeros” is available on all major streaming platforms.
Written by Jacob Jahiel
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